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U.S. Jewelry, Watch Sales +8% in 2013

Jan 31, 2014 11:30 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... U.S. jewelry and watch sales  closed the year 2013 with solid growth, capping a period of relatively benign consumer price inflation (CPI) for the sector, which helped in maintaining strong performance.  Combined jewelry and watch sales in December rose 6.4 percent year on year, according to preliminary government figures. Sales growth for November was revised slightly lower to 8.4 percent from 9.1 percent but growth for October was revised higher to 9.4 percent from 5.5 percent.

Jewelry sales alone in December rose 6.2 percent year on year to $14.6 billion, while watch sales increased 8.2 percent to $2 billion, according to Rapaport News estimates. Jewelry sales estimates in November improved 9.8 percent to $6.6 billion, however, watch sales declined 2.2 percent to $783 million. (Story continues after the chart.)
jewelry sales

Preliminary sales totals for 2013 suggested that jewelry sales rose 7.7 percent year on year to $71.3 billion, while watch sales improved 8.1 percent to $9.5 billion. The CPI for jewelry, meanwhile, was basically flat in 2013, or down just 0.4 percent to 177.6 points. However, the CPI for watches increased 2.8 percent to 121.3 points and reached a record 124.3 points in July.

During the year, jewelry sales growth was strongest in April, when the sector recorded its only double-digit increase at 11.1 percent year on year to $4.94 billion. While sales growth reached its second highest level in November, jewelry sales also improved better than 9 percent  in January, March, June and October.

The watch sector was given a boost from higher consumer prices and recorded the strongest sales increase in October at 12.2 percent to $688 million, but double-digit increases were also recorded in January, March, April and June.  Sales growth stripped of recent price increase --as chained to 2009 dollars-- rose 6.5 percent year on year, according to government estimates. (Story continues after the chart.)
 watch sales 2013

Full year sales data for only U.S. jewelry stores will be out in February, but for the first 11 months of the year, store sales have risen 9.6 percent to $27.5 billion. By comparison, U.S. department store sales in 2013 fell 4.7 percent to $174.7 billion, reflecting a highly competitive marketplace coupled with tight consumer wallets.

One early outlook for the retail sector from ShopperTrak, not including gains from  automobiles or food,  suggested that sales would improve 2.8 percent year on year for the first quarter that ends in March;  however, the group also predicted that foot traffic to stores would plunge 9 percent.

Kiplinger provided a broader outlook for all sectors, including automobile and food sales, projecting growth of between 5.2 percent and 5.7 percent in 2014 following an increase of 4.5 percent in 2013. Kiplinger stated that a stronger economy, wage gains and declining unemployment will reduce consumers' hesitancy to spend and this should also decrease retailers' need for deep price cutting again come the Christmas shopping season.

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Tags: cpi, growth, inflation, Jeff Miller, Jewelry, retail sales, watches
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